#NoSloMo

sledgehammer 1983

SLEDGEHAMMER

1 Stars  1983/85m

“Flesh tears. Bones shatter. The nightmare has begun.”

Director/Writer: David A. Prior / Cast: Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman, Jeanine Scheer, Steve Wright, Tim Aguilar, Sandy Brooke, Doug Matley.

Body Count: 7


The title pertains quite accurately to the implement of destruction you will want to attack the screen with after about ten minutes of Sledgehammer.

Another “I was the first! I was the first!” ranter about the oh-so-impressive feat of being shot-on-video. This film is approximately 88% slow-motion action.

Beginning with a static shot of a farmhouse that remains on screen for about forty seconds, we eventually go inside to find a slutty woman locking her kid in the closet so she can do the nudies with her lover. They’re interrupted by a sledgehammer-toting assailant who donks them into the next realm.

Ten years later – never nine, never eleven – a van load of ‘young’ ‘people’ come to the house to party. They whoop and cheer for everything:

  • “Let’s unload our bags.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah!”
  • “Let’s go inside.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah!”
  • “Let’s partake in some alcoholic refreshment.”
  • “Woooo! Yeah! America!!!”

Their optimism made me want them dead within seconds.

sh4The lead couple are made up of hunky Chuck and his moany girlfriend (Joan? Joni? Jenny?) who wah-wah-wahs on that he asked her to marry him and now can’t decide if it’s the right thing to do. He’s a dick anyway.

They go for a walk in the field. To flutey folk music. In slow-motion. It lasts two minutes and twenty seconds. That’s 140 seconds of nothing but watching two people walk along to flutey folk music.

Later the whole gang have a foodfight (“Woooo!”) then a seance (“Yeah!!!”) where Chuck tells the story of the sledgehammer murders and we are shown it all again. As if it wasn’t painful enough twenty minutes ago.

Telling the story seemingly resurrects the spirit of the kid-in-the-closet, now a twenty-foot giant with a plastic mask, who dons the titular object and sets about killing the ‘young people’. In slow-motion.

sh3

Standard tin-can sound and video-blur add to the pain of observing Sledgehammer. There’s no point commenting on any of the acting, writing, or characterisation. It all means nothing.

The film probably wrapped at about 28 minutes originally, hence the need to slow everything down to force it to feature length. I can’t say I’ve ever seen more use of slo-mo in any production, film or TV, ever.

Blurbs-of-interest: David A. Prior and Ted Prior respectively directed and starred in Aerobicide.

Prom Trite

On my zillionth viewing of Prom Night, I thought some stuff. Not just “my God, is that how they danced in 1979!?” or “that’s her dress?” but plotty things like:

  • The Halloween influence is so heavy: The street Jude crosses looks exactly like the one Laurie and friends walk down in Haddonfield.
  • How can Kelly and Jude be friends with each other, let alone the sister of the girl they killed?!
  • And Nick – dating her???
  • It’s pretty obvious who it is from ten minutes in.
  • Kim’s prom queen dress makes Molly Ringwald’s one from Pretty in Pink look like Chanel.
  • Are Leslie Nielsen and his missus supposed to be suspects? Where are they at the end?
  • Drew should’ve been murdered. Gruesomely.
  • Nick, although nice, deserved to go too

prom night 1980

  • Wendy’s chase scene is still the best. Ever.
  • Nobody heard a van explode? Nobody was outside smoking, making out, or getting air?
  • The killer should’ve turned out to be Kelly, guilt-ridden over what they did.
  • The disco choons really are awesome. Time to Turn Around was stuck in my head all last night.

I Snow What You Did Last Summer

iced 1988

ICED

2.5 Stars  1988/87m

“A downhill vacation becomes a nightmare of terror. Get of the hill before you get iced.”

Director: Jeff Kwitny / Writer: Joseph Alan Johnson / Cast: Debra DeLiso, Doug Stevenson, Lisa Loring, Ron Kologie, Joseph Alan Johnson, Elizabeth Gorcey, John C. Cooke, Dan Smith, Michael Picardi.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “It was one of those flicks where you only watch the film if someone’s naked or getting killed – or both!”


The height of summer! It’s too hot. Let’s cool down.

In 1988, some six years after major studios had lost interest in any slasher film other than franchise sequels for Jason, Freddy or Michael, somebody must have owed scribe/actor Joseph Alan Johnson a big favour when they made his soggy script into a film.

Why? Possibly because nobody had done murder on the slopes (unless you count the unknown tripe that was Satan’s Blade) and this left the door ajar for a new angle on a genre everyone was sick to death of. Be it ever so cliché in every other aspect, Iced isn’t actually that bad a film, just a little frosty around the edges.

Two guys fighting over a girl challenge each other to a late night race down the slopes, which will apparently determine who gets to hang out with her. The pissed off loser gets drunk and ends up skiing himself off a cliff edge onto some rocks and dying. Four years go by and his ex-friends (who don’t seem to like each other much) are invited for a weekend at a new condo for one of those time-share sales things.

Murder and mayhem ensure courtesy of a ‘mystery’ skier who is partial to dispatching his targets with ski poles, bear traps and even icicles. Could it be the not so dearly departed? Or has one of the group gone schizo after years of guilt and decided to redress the balance? With virtually no suspects other than that who is unmasked, it’s a very unexciting revelation and probably one that needn’t have been bothered with in the first place. That said, I can’t remember who the killer was. Impact.

With little in the way of invention outside of the locale, Iced relies on tried and tested methods and gets a good deal of help from its impressive score, one that’s probably too intense for the comparatively anodyne setup, and pads out dull scenes with enough sex to qualify as soft porn, some of which is even visualised as dream sequences!

Shades of both April Fool’s Day and The Big Chill creep in, and this was virtually remade in 2001 as Shredder, which is a lot more fun.

Blurbs-of-interest: Debra DeLiso was one of the doomed girls in The Slumber Party Massacre, which co starred Johnson, who had the lead role in Berserker. Lisa Loring was in Blood Frenzy.

Live in the Now!

This month marks 20 years since I first watched Friday the 13th in my parents’ lounge one night in the early hours…

Since that life-changing experience (!), about 680 slasher movies later, I’m still always on the lookout for that kind of familiarity. Or, as The Carpenters sang, Trying to Get That Feeling Again.

To celebrate this anniversary, I’ve sought out some awesome ‘modernized’ trailers from YouTube, that make those old films at the beginning of my love affair with dead-teenager movies look like they could be released tomorrow!

Regardé:

Much like the Michael Myers, this trailer moves slowly and then suddenly goes for the jugular.

I love the use of a creepy Sealed with a Kiss on this one.

So the disco moves, clothes, and hair can’t be unseen, but these two minutes are better than the entire 2008 film.

Jamie Lee Curtis back again, fighting off another vengeful killer. This one shows how much she carries the action in Terror Train.

This film just can’t be improved upon, but this trailer certainly makes it look contemporary. Love the black and white flash at the end.

The Burning still freaks me out a bit two decades after I saw it. Its visceral intensity is cranked up in this re-do.

Films for a slow day…

rush week 1989RUSH WEEK

2 Stars  1989/18/92m

“There’s a killer on the campus!”

Director: Bob Bralver / Writers: Russell V. Manzatt & Michael W. Leighton / Cast: Pamela Ludwig, Dean Hamilton, Roy Thinnes, Don Grant, Courtney Gebhart, John Donovan, Todd Eric Andrews, Laura Burkett, Toni Lee, Dominick Brascia, Kathleen Kinmont, Gregg Allman.

Body Count: 5


You won’t be rushing to recommend this relatively bloodless hashing of the slasher and detective genres, made for the teen audience, which features a campus Scream-like killer who brings purification to young ladies who pose for naughty photographs to pay their college costs.

Pamela Ludwig is a student reporter piecing together the mystery, and Kathleen Kinmont has a minimal role as the first victim. Unfortunately, Rush Week takes things too slowly and never really escapes its own pitfalls long enough to build adequate amounts of tension and when the action finally does kick in it’s too little too late. Still, it should keep you guessing for at least a few minutes (despite wasting the opportunity for quite a good twist that would make it even more like Scream) even if the box makes it sound ten times more interesting than it really is.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kathleen Kinmont was in Halloween 4; Dominick Brascia was Joey in Friday the 13th Part V and also directed Evil Laugh.

1 2 3 157